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[PT] Team Puma - SAP 2021 | Presentation
Three very important signings

Team Puma - SAP is happy to announce its first three signings of the 2021 Transfer Season!

With only one of those being a permanent deal, one could argue this is not a significant news story.
But all of these three riders are very special to us, and securing just one of them would've consistuted a successful transfers, much less all three.

It's no exaggeration when I say that these riders were #1 and #2 on our loan priority list and #2 on our Free Agent list, which makes me very proud to announce them all here and not having to watch them be presented elsewhere.

So first and foremost, I want to thank the managers involved in these loan deals, baseballlover312 and Luis Leon Sanchez.
It means a lot to have been chosen as the team to help develop two of the most intriguing talents in the world and to see the respect shown to us during negotiations.



It has been the worst kept secret in the entire ManGame that Lennard Kämna is a rider I'd do nearly everything for to sign permanently, but after issuing what nearly amounted to a blank check to Carlsberg - Danske Bank last season without success, he was an obvious match for a final loan year in the ProTour ranks.

With the deal apparently being a foregone conclusion to the heated negotiations over the years, it took less than an hour to finalize it, and so we're very proud to have Lennard ride for Team Puma - SAP and alongside Silvio Herklotz at least for one season!
He's the perfect fit for our stage racing squad supporting Herklotz, a solid climber with a strong TT coming in very handy in a Grand Tour TTT, and it's even better to see those strengths combined in a German rider.
With those credentials, it was easy to agree to paying his entire wage for the duration of the loan.

We look forward to his efforts this season and hope to see him get plenty of camera time to soak in the sights of what could have been, but still kind of happens now!

Lennard Kämna 4.14 25yo Stage Racer €100.000
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Another rider we've set our eyes on ever since missing out on him in Free Agency was Nicola Conci, a similarly promising Italian youngster from our friends at Aramco DP.
With their approach to team building similar to - and apparently inspired by - ours, we've always had a positive bond to the team and inquired about a potential loan for his final development year.

The fact that we were chosen as Conci's destination among the many teams lining up for this deal is a sign of the incredible respect shown to our journey that humbles us deeply.

With a skill profile very similar to Kämna, he too will be vital in our GC and TTT lineups throughout the season, offering a versatile domestique on all terrains and in every race situation.
Both loanees will learn from Herklotz and hopefully return to their teams physically and mentally stronger and much better prepared to lead a team themselves one day.

Just like with Lennard, the comparative strength of Nicola to most riders his age prompted us to offer to pay his entire wage without a second thought.

Nicola Conci 4.45 24yo Stage Racer €80.000
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The only rider of this first batch to sign a permanent deal with Team Puma - SAP is none other than the best available new Free Agent from Germany, Ben Zwiehoff.

Being number 2 on our shortlist should not downplay his abilities, as he easily could've been our #1 with a different approach, so switching to Plan B was by no means a downgrade.

Ben comes into the sport quite late after being a successful MTBer already, and his roots clearly show in his skillset, with plenty of development left to decide on his exact path in the future.
Equally good on short and long uphill efforts, he combines his pure climbing ability with a brilliant acceleration to go for KoM points and uphill sprints from breakaways.
Added on top of those more or less necessary skills for a climber, he also exhibits perfect bike handling in descents thanks to his previous discipline, which makes him an even better rider in the high mountain stages of Grand Tours and could give him the chance to decide a stage downhill already.

With a manageable price tag of €100.000, we believe to have made a decent deal for a rider with his ceiling disregarding his nationality, and knowing that he was by far the best new addition from Germany makes this a signing we're very enthusiastic about.

Ben Zwiehoff 3.00 27yo Climber €100.000
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Im a bit mad i didnt get Zwiehoff myself. Brilliantly stat set and a shame that someone, who wont at least loan him to me next year, got him.

Two perfect loan signings. Not surprising that they were so high on your list as pretty much everyone will agree that they were amongst the strongest loan candidates this season
A Big Thank You To All MG Reporters!

Some nice signings and I hope you enjoy Kamna for the 1 season!
.: Manager of :.
.: My Awards :.
The permanent moves

Three riders left Team Puma - SAP for good this transfer season, among them two long-standing members whose departure is quite emotional.


Nikias Arndt was acquired in 2015 as a Free Agent after the demise of his old outfit, Team B&O, where he had just finished his development as a climber with a threatening sprint from select groups.
He made plenty of use of his skills in his time at our team, being vital to our promotion to PT in his first season and contributing to our rise to the PT crown with results of his own and vital domestique and leadout work for Arnaud Demare's multitude of Grand Tour stage and points jersey wins.

Renowned for outperforming his pure stats quite often, we would've loved to keep Nikias around for another few seasons.
But ultimately, our cap space and budget situation would eventually have forced him out regardless of his services, and we're reluctant to wait with rider sales until age might become an issue in negotiations.
So when a German PCT team inquired about him and offered a transfer fee that would facilitate improvements elsewhere, we were quick to decide this was the right move for all sides involved, and we hope Nikias can enjoy a few more years at the very top of the second division alongside our other former rider Dominik Nerz!

Nikias Arndt joins Kraftwerk Man Machine for a fee of €1.000.000.

Patrick Bevin joined our team in the very same year as Arndt, a solid stage racer for a cheap wage who was always happy to spend his energy in service of others, while also making use of his time in the spotlight whenever he was the strongest rider in our lineup.
With one of his career highlights being third place going up the famous Tourmalet in the 2018 Tour de France, he clearly has results of his own to show for.

With a comparative abundance of teams focusing on Oceania, we've always been open to talks that would see Paddy spend the final third of his career among his fellow countrymen, and finally talks went past the inquiry stage and we've struck a deal.
Moving down to CT could be a blessing in disguise for Bevin, as we believe he can perform well as an underdog leader in TT-heavy stage races and we'll certainly keep an eye out for him there.

Patrick Bevin joins BNZ-Superhero Racing for a fee of €300.000.

Guy Sagiv, an addition back in 2018, could always be added to any non-GT lineup without a second thought, being a reliable domestique on the flat as well as a dangerous breakway threat.
And in what turned out to be his final year in the team, he achieved his biggest success, winning the first stage of the Dauphiné Liberé from such a break, slipping into the yellow jersey on top of the victory on the road.

Just like with Arndt and Bevin, we weren't unhappy with Guy's performance in the team, but our finances required parting ways with him and we're looking forward to racing against him from now on.

Guy Sagiv joins ISA - Hexacta for a fee of €60.000.


With an early signing of Ben Zwiehoff, the team's future clearly lies in focusing even more on nurturing German talent and forming a strong ProTour squad with a majority of German riders on the roster.

So when the three sales above generated a little bit of free cap space, we've set our eyes on the second best German talent to have been discovered this past season, and added him to the team as well!


Felix Groß will one day, in combination with Jannik Steimle, try to fill the shoes of Arnaud Demare in our team.

Having a clear focus on flat stages compared to the more undulating profiles Demare and to some extent Steimle prefer, Felix provides us with the coverage to field an underdog sprinter in most, if not all sprint stages on the calendar once Jannik and him are maxed out.
We didn't face any opposition to his signature and secured Groß from Free Agency for the minimum €50.000 wage.

With many German top sprinters at or close to the age of decline, we're really happy to have the future of German sprinting united in Team Puma - SAP!

Felix Groß 2.00 23yo Sprinter €50.000
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Edited by cio93 on 20-09-2021 10:46
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Posted on 28-10-2021 00:29
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Had my eye on Groß from the beginning but decided to go for more immediate point scorers, especially after you eventually bid for him (would not have let him go unsigned, in all likelihood). Should be a very very good rider in due time!
cunego59 wrote:
Had my eye on Groß from the beginning but decided to go for more immediate point scorers, especially after you eventually bid for him (would not have let him go unsigned, in all likelihood). Should be a very very good rider in due time!


A great signing at 50 000 though.
Great regional signings! Too bad we didn't find an agreement for Aregger or Stüssi though, but I hope we'll do next year Wink

Seeing Arndt leave your team feels a little strange as well, but well, with Silvio's wage it was clear you'd have to make some sacrifices Pfft
Obviously thrilled that Kamna gets to spend his Lvl 4 year in the only place that made sense. Hopefully he bring Herklotz to greatness. Smile
RIP Exxon Duke, David Veilleux, Double Feature, and Monster Energy
I couldn't compete with your offer for Zwiehoff and I focused on jam today getting Zabel rather than Groß. Congrats for picking up the best German talents.

Very pleased to have Arndt join Nerz & Kittel at Kraftwerk with three years still at his top game. I hope to be able to get the best out of him with some careful planning.

Obviously jealous Kämna will be riding for you if only on loan.

Good luck for the coming season.
Manager of Suntory [ICL]
Manager of Kraftwerk Man Machine [Man Game]
@cunego, hillis, Dave: Looks like I was pretty lucky to have all potential opposition be preoccupied with more urgent targets! I was surprised to see one bid each suffice, but it makes sense now that I understand your thought process.
Next year's Germans are likely all yours though, we'll suffer in renewals.

@Fabianski: Thank you! Smile Even though they weren't fruitful, I very much enjoyed our talks and we do have the same reasons to chat again next year indeed.

@bbl: Even though it was always destined to be this way, I didn't allow myself to fully believe in it until the moment your PM came in, thank you once again for making it happen! Smile
Silvio is thrilled about his lineup this season, it'll hardly ever get better.

A final swap, and a plethora of loans

Loans are always a simple and effective way to build a relationship with teams of other divisions, and beyond that, simply necessary with our everlasting focus on talents that are just not quite ready for the ProTour yet.

Beyond our two already announced loans, we have agreed to four more this transfer season, two additional loans in and two out.

And at a time where transfers usually have winded down for the vast majority of teams, we surprisingly found a final deal to improve our finances for next season.


Fabien Doubey was a late addition at minimum wage last season, with a bright future in the team now that he maxed out as a strong climber and puncheur with a decent sprint, all at minimum wage for the foreseeable future.

But Doubey isn't German, and in a team with an ever increasing ratio of German support riders, his name topped our list of riders we were willing to part ways with if the deal is right.
And in the final hours of the transfer season, we found the right deal, with a rider swap involving Meron Amanuel and a significant sum of money that we hope to partially carry over into next year's budget to improve our finances going into very tough renewals and transfers then.

Fabien Doubey joins Tafjord Kraft in a swap netting us a fee of €500.000.

Joris Nieuwenhuis will be a vital part in our leadout trains once maxed, with strong rouleur skills and a great acceleration making him an ideal fit for the first leadout position.

But having been added to the team last season at level 2, both last and this season just come slightly too early for him to take this job already, and we found a great swap loan deal with one of our favorite teams to negotiate with.

Joris Nieuwenhuis joins Tryg - Ritter Sport on loan for the 2021 season.

Felix Gross, having just been signed to the team, is another rider we really look forward to once maxed, but for now the ProTour races would just be a bit too tough for him.

And with a solid relationship with the new PCT outfit already having been built, we turned to our friends at Tryg once again to have our two youngsters team up for the season and get used to each other on and off the road to hopefully improve their synergy once both are on a PT level.

Felix Gross also joins Tryg - Ritter Sport on loan for the 2021 season.


One rider leaving and two loans out are compensated with one new addition and two loans in!

As mentioned above, two swap deals sent us direct replacements, while we also resumed talks with BNZ after successful Bevin negotiations to add another temporary piece to the squad.


Meron Amanuel joins the team in a swap deal for Fabien Doubey with CT outfit Tafjord Kraft, with the Eritrean continuing a solid history with African riders that stems from Janvier Hadi being a valuable asset to Herklotz in the past while wearing the Rwandan champion jersey for a season as well.

With a great punch and fighting spirit, we hope Meron can go for success from breakaways and provide depth in our somewhat light puncheur lineup before Madouas matures further.

Meron Amanuel 4.100 31yo Puncheur €50.000
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Georg Zimmermann has been on our trade shortlist ever since we couldn't fit him into the squad initially, but Tryg - Ritter Sport rightly holds onto him and puts a lot of faith in his potential.
But similar to Kämna, if we can't have him permanently, we'd at least love to help him in his development and see him in our colors for one season, and luckily we managed to achieve just that!

In a swap loan deal with Nieuwenhuis, we secured Georg for the 2021 season.
We hope he can show our jersey in lots of mountain breakaways, a task he already has the perfect skills for, with plenty of energy reserves at the end of tough days and great descending.

Georg Zimmermann 4.02 24yo Climber €50.000
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Narankhuu Baterdene adds another unusual nationality to the 2021 roster, with Mongolia at best having had a geographical neighbor in the team in Kazakh Shishelov back in our early days.

The sale of Patrick Bevin to BNZ-Superhero Racing facilitated this loan in return, and we're looking forward to see Narankhuu added to the lineups around Demare, as a strong flat helper in the sprint preparation.

Narankhuu Baterdene 4.00 26yo Sprinter €50.000
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Team Presentation | Team Puma - SAP 2021

Backing up a dominant 2018 PT victory with two consecutive third place finishes, Team Puma - SAP aims at being among the five best teams in the world in the 2021 season yet again, with a young and talented squad spearheaded by the very same two leaders it has relied on for years.

24 riders with an average age of 26.83 are in the team's lineup this season, with a whopping 14 of those from Germany!
Nearly half of the roster - 11 riders total - is unmaxed, of which four riders are loaned in, but at the same time two permanent riders in Nieuwenhuis and Groß are currently loaned out.

Overall, the trend observed in the past few years continues, with the focus switching away from purely chasing success to primarily nurturing German talent.
Starting with 6 of 24 riders in the PT winning season, the ratio of German riders in the Team Puma - SAP roster has slowly increased to 9 of 23 in 2019 and 9 in 22 last season, to now make a big jump and reach the majority with said 14 of 24.

Committing to this path for the future, the management has set a major goal outside of its sponsor demands for this season, which will set the tone for its transfer season plans in the coming years:

Team Puma - SAP vows to fill at least 12 of its 24 Grand Tour lineup spots this season with Germans, and aims for a further increase to at least 16 of 24 by 2024!

With that being said, let's take a closer look at the different departments inside the team.



The centerpiece of the team ever since he matured into a GT winner, Silvio Herklotz had his most successful season to date in 2020 and starts the new year as the reigning TdF and World Champion.

With Nikias Arndt gone, the team will struggle a bit more in the mountainous races Herklotz can't attend, but thanks to two loanees and some improved talents, the depth behind the ever-faithful superdomestiques Vasyliv and Stüssi is impressive.
Particularly Kämna and Conci will be vital support in their first ever Grand Tour, and the aforementioned plans to further increase the German presence in the team are greatly aided by the still developing trio of Zwiehoff, Schinnagel and Stork.



The winner of the maillot vert in 2019 and the maglia ciclamino in 2020, Arnaud Demare, still leads the sprint squad at the team with a continued focus on another GT points jersey alongside the ever-elusive victory at Milano-San Remo.

Unexpectedly, the team managed to hold onto prime leadout rider Marcel Aregger for another season, and we're excited to welcome Jannik Steimle in the team full-time for his first races in our jersey.
Together with Aregger, we have improved our leadout which also handles tougher stages well enough to be of use for Demare there, and Steimle is primed to one day take over lead sprinter duties from him and thus is excited to learn from one of the best in the business.

In case the day gets even harder, there's also still Yikui Niu around to lend a pair of fast legs, and loanee Baterdene will get his opportunity at leading the Puma train into the final kilometres as well.

Clearly, this is the least German-centric piece of the team for now, but with the signing of Felix Groß, we're starting to take a step in the right direction here as well.



With Filippo Ganna nearing his final development step, we once again turn to newly crowned German ITT champion Jasha Sütterlin for results in flat time trials, with Politt and Weinstein backing him up and making this another German-majority department.

Together with some of the climbers, these guys can form a very strong TTT lineup, and we're excited to see that in action several times this season.
And with Ganna already being quite fast in shorter time trials, and plenty of prologues being present in the 2021 PT calendar, he will get quite a few opportunities to lead the team in races suited to his strenghts starting this season.



With Demare rather focusing on sprint races and Valentin Madouas not quite at his full strength yet, our puncheurs are definitely not on the same level as the three primary terrains the team focuses on.
Nevertheless, thanks to being able to hold on to Mager and late addition Amanuel, as well as many of our climbers being similarly good on long and short ascents, we're confident that sending lineups dedicated to breakaway success in races not attended by either Herklotz or Demare can still lead to decent points scoring.

And particularly Madouas will certainly become a focal point of the team's training plans in due time!



And last but not least, our smallest department shall not be entirely underestimated either.

Rémi Cavagna had a season for the ages, with its pinnacle being a podium spot at the prestigious Tour of Northern Europe, THE benchmark for versatile riders.
While his achievements were very much felt during renewals, we believe he's worth any wage and look forward to what he can do on cobbles, TTs, hills and cobbled hilly TTs again!

Still, we cannot forget Lukas Meiler who is also on his way to evolve into his final form, a strong rouleur with a clear focus on races like the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
He will be another important piece in the team's attempt to bring more German riders to the top in the coming years.

Winter Training Camp Recap

A fruitful visit to the Ardennes last season saw Silvio Herklotz dominate the early hilly stages in the Tour de France, laying the foundation to his GC victory on the Champs-Elysées two weeks later.

Knowing that the opposition never sleeps and we can't become too complacent, this year's transfer season again had the ultimate goal of generating enough training funds to further set Silvio apart from his rivals on the short and steep stuff.
Thanks to a high-profile sale of Nikias Arndt and several smaller fees from loans, swaps and sales, we've managed to pay for a couple of nice weeks in the Bavarian Prealps and are excited to report on the result.

After getting beaten at the 2019 Giro d'Italia by a Simon Spilak with similar stats, it's time to turn the tables!

Silvio Herklotz 27yo World Champion
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Well, the beast is getting even more beastier ^^
I hope for you that training will pay off despite the further reduction of 2 RDs (besides the -3 he already had due to OVL adjustment)! Surely, he'll be the prime stage hunter in the GC he rides (which I guess he will), but there's even less room for other stage races now.

And the rest of the team is about as stacked as ever. Sure, you might feel Arndt's departure in non-TT stage races, as the remaining climbers are at least half a level below him. But the depth of your mountain department is amazing and should produce a good bunch of points as well Smile
Demare obviously will be even less challenged in his favorite races after MvS' escape to PCT and should deliver big time again.
Your TT (and obviously TTT) looks amazing, and still has so much room for improvement given their average age!
However, I'm eager to find out what your hills department can do in races where neither Herklotz nor Demare are present. Mager, Madouas and Amanuel are good, and especially the Frenchie looks like a possible future beast, but I guess they will deliver more depth results than top placings. Which are still worth a lot, of course!

I really like your commitment to German riders, and I'm looking forward to see what you can do with your All-German-GT-Lineup project Smile

On a personal note, I honestly am pretty disappointed to still see the two Swiss flags on your roster. Disappointed on one hand by my own transfer strategy (had I just focused on Aregger, he'd probably have been mine pretty early on), on the other hand by loads of PMs finally leading nowhere this time. Well, maybe next year Smile They don't fit your national focus anyway Pfft
Enjoyed reading your great presentation.

Herklotz even bigger threat than before!

MVS to PCT not good for us PCTers but must give Demare a bit more scoring potential.

Missed a trick after you secured Groß and Zwiehoff not offering to loan them in, I might get the hang of this game some day.

Pleased we managed a smooth transfer of Arndt, he will be well looked after at Kraftwerk Smile Hopefully I managed to pick some suitable C1 races for him. Liking what I can do planning him alongside Nerz.

Good luck for the season.
Manager of Suntory [ICL]
Manager of Kraftwerk Man Machine [Man Game]
The Bavarian prealps are not a bad place to get into form Grin
Being that far above the opposition, I'm wondering if Herklotz could do as well as Phinney with a schedule not involving a GT. With only 32 race days I'm sure it could be a viable option.

Great to see so many Germans on the team this season. Niu being the only non European (except for loanins) seems a little out of place by now.
Herklotz once again a step closer to becoming totally unbeatable, if he wasn't already close enough Pfft Two racedays less of course, which will indeed be interesting to see whether it 'was worth it'. Demare should remain a great point scorer, with Sütterlin still being the same good time trialist, that can still improve a lot if you want him to. Think you're looking forward to another nice season for German cyling Smile
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